Tepelena – It has been at least three days now that the prisoners serving their time in Bënça, Tepelena penitentiary are consuming water from the river, after the local water supplier has decided to discontinue the water supply to this facility. The reason for such blockage has been the prison’s failure to pay the water supply bills, as of January this year. The lack of potable water for the last three days has made the directors think of a quick solution and they came up with the idea of taking the water from a nearby source, but also directly from the Vjosa river, thus putting in danger the health of the persons serving their sentences in this institution.
The cause for such an interruption of water supply has been the debit the institution owes to the Tepelena water supply enterprise, which, according to the official data amounts to ALL 5 million of the old currency. During this month, in the Bënça penitentiary where approximately 100 prisoners serve their time, there have been numerous interruptions in the supply of potable water, which have lasted even for 48 hours. The difficult conditions the convicts are now facing and the alarm given for this situation caused the immediate reaction of the General Directorate of Prisons.
We have learned that high prison officials have intervened to allow at least payment of a part of the debt that the prison owes to Telepena Water Supply Authority, which would lead to a temporary improvement of the situation. Arben Kaçorri, Director of the Water Supply Enterprise in Tepelena said the prison has been carrying the debt of several months, starting from January this year. Based also on official data, it results that the Bënça penitentiary consumes nearly 700 cubic meters of water a month, but according to Kaçorri, the institution has consumed only 70 cubic meters this month.
Confidential sources have admitted that under these conditions, the prison directorate has identified a solution to this problem, which is, getting potable water from a water source close to the facility, and also directly from the Vlosa River. The Bënça Prison Warden, Vladimir Bakiaj, appointed to this post only a few days ago, has refused to disclose information regarding the situation. However, the same convicts have complained about the quality of potable water in the facility, due also to the official records showing that on May, this facility has consumed only 70 cubic meters of water (as measured), whereas only a month earlier, the measurement indicated a consume of 1000 cubic meter. Such a decrease of the amount of water supplied by the water supply enterprise raises doubts that the Bënça prison is consuming water from other sources, a fact that is not being commented by the prison’s leadership.
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